With a distinct culture and dynamic student life, Ireland has a long history of welcoming international students. 7 of Ireland’s public universities rank within the world’s top 700, and tuition fees are highly subsidised even for international students. It is not hard to see why getting higher education in Ireland is gaining popularity in Malaysia.
The Irish education system run according to the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) where Level 6 and above is considered higher education. It is run in accordance with the European Higher Education Area and European Qualification Framework.
Irish universities are state-funded and generally operate autonomously. There are seven universities in Ireland, each offering a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes across a wide spectrum of general study areas.
Institute of Technology
These institutions provide education and training study programmes in areas such as business, science, engineering, linguistics and music across certificate, diploma and degree levels. There are 11 institutes of technology in Ireland, each with a separate set of programme, course and credit requirements that should be pursued directly with each institution.
1st of January 2019 is the launch of Ireland’s very 1st Technological University. Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) is the merger of 3 Institute of Technologies; Dublin Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown and Institute of Technology Tallaght. The collaboration has made the institution one of the biggest and provides the most courses in Ireland.
Third-party private colleges offer education and training in specialist areas such as vocational training, art and design, medicine, business studies, rural development, theology, music and law. Qualifications are offered across vocational, certificate and degree levels, but differ considerably depending on the institution and study programme. Students are advised to confirm the exact nature of qualifications offered directly with their host institution.
The Higher Certificate is equivalent to Malaysia’s STPM. Students who want to pursue a high-level degree such as Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Veterinary and etc. can consider taking this program. The certificate is normally awarded after the completion of a programme of one or two years depending on qualification.
International Foundation is a program that is specifically designed for international students who does not meet the entry requirements for general undergraduate admission. The program generally lasts between 7 to 9 months depending on program intake.
There several types of undergraduate programmes in Ireland. The most typical program is the Bachelors Honours Degree. In the general field of studies, the programme is around four years long for a full-time student. Courses such as Architecture, Veterinary Science and Dentistry and medicine are about five years in duration.
Another similar programme is the Bachelor Ordinary Degree and it generally only takes 3 years to complete the program. Bear in mind that Bachelor Ordinary Degree is a level inferior to Bachelor Honours Degree. In order to be qualified for a graduate Visa or to be admitted into any postgraduate programmes, students will need to top up a year in Bachelor Honours degree. Most institutes will have “add-on programmes” for Ordinary Degree graduates to complete their Honours degree.
Higher Diploma is an undergraduate program that is offered to graduates of Honours degree who want to pursue another field of study upon the completion of their initial program. The duration of the program is a year and the qualification is equivalent to Honours degree.
The postgraduate qualifications awarded in Ireland are Postgraduate Diploma, Masters Degree, Doctoral Degree and Higher Doctorate. Masters Degree can be taught or research-based. Generally 1 year for taught masters and 2 years for research masters. Study at a postgraduate level is more focused and takes a more specialist approach to the area of study undertaken at an undergraduate level.
Postgraduate Diplomas are often vocationally oriented and directly linked to professions such as teaching or librarianship. In some cases, these diplomas may be used as a bridging qualification towards a Masters Degree in the same field.
Students are expected to work and maintain their academic standard independently. There is a larger focus on the modes of approach to a subject. Course content seeks to equip students with the tools to draw their own conclusions on what is taught. Reading and research are one of the fundamental skills need to form an opinion where it will be used in class discussion.
With an impressive recovery from the recession, Ireland is becoming one of the economic powerhouses in Europe. As the only English speaking country in the Europe Union, large multinational companies are investing in the country for its language convenience as well as its relationship with the US and the European nations.
The country uses Euros (€) as its currency. Therefore, its currency is also stronger and no exchange rate barrier with other EU countries.
As a result of the economic progression of the country, employment opportunities for post-graduates are in rising demand. And according to the article “The World’s Friendliest Countries Revealed” by Southan in Forbes 2018, 7 in 10 expats expressed that Ireland feels just like home. It is safe to say that Ireland is one of the best places for life after university.
There are over 782 Million euros annual investment in research made by the Irish government. Making Ireland one of the most affordable Anglophone countries for tertiary education in the world.